Dear WesleyNexus Colleague:

I hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day.   We give thanks to those in our military who have given
so much for their fellow citizens.  Also keep in your thoughts and prayers those who have lost so
much due to tornados, floods and storms.  Below you will find a few articles and announcements for
the month of May.  As always, if you run across an item that you think should be posted on
WesleyNexus, please let me know by sending an email to  I hope you enjoy
this month’s newsletter.  

God Bless,

Rick Barr, WesleyNexus  

Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference Presents Science and Religion Resolution

The Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference will
meet the last week of May.  On the agenda is a resolution
‘To make evolutionary scientific realities of our life and
knowledge a part of The United Methodist Church by
rethinking and implementing “evolutionary scientific
thinking” into our worship experience, our theological language,
teaching, our songs and life experience in accordance with the
Book of Discipline Resolution number or Paragraph 160 F.  This is a follow-up of three resolutions
approved in 2008.’  The resolution is sponsored by Henry F. Schwarzmann, a retired pastor from the
conference.  It resolves to make evolutionary science and thinking a priority in teaching and conveying
the faith and in our efforts to educate, write church school literature, and relating the faith in our
colleges and universities.  The resolution can be found

United Methodist Scientist Author’s Book Targets Questioning Young Adults

Michael Bunner is a Christian, an engineer and a
member of the United Methodist Church.  
Responding to the need to provide young people
confused by the seeming conflict between science
and religion so prevalent in the news, Bunner has
written a book that provides a middle ground
perspective.  For him, science and religion are not
in conflict since they address different questions.  As the article by Bruce Posten states, “in a nutshell,
Bunner sees science as answering how and what questions, but unable to answer the more
nonmaterial, purpose-driven and meaning-oriented why questions without falling back on philosophy
or a belief system to interpret the science.”   Of course, this perspective is not new, as it  reflects
something of the independence approach made famous by Ian Barbour.  But it is good to see a United
Methodist taking the time to engage in the conversation and to target young adults.  

Note:  Thanks to Joseph Wolyniak, a DPhil Candidate, University of Oxford (Harris Manchester) and
A Visiting Scholar, at Yale University (Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics) for pointing this out.  I
have not had a chance to read the book so the only information I have is from the article by Bruce
Posten which can be found

Ted Talks and the Boundaries of Science and Pseudo-Science

I am sure that many of you have
heard of TED Talks, an on-line
library of popular lectures on a
variety of subjects.  At TED, they
“believe passionately in the power
of ideas to change attitudes, lives
and ultimately, the world. So we're building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and
inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage
with ideas and each other.”  Many of the lectures are on scientific subjects but who gets to choose
what is science?  An interesting discussion appeared recently on the Huffington Post where the popular
author, Deepak Chopra addresses the question of what is sound science, what is pseudo-science, and
who are “goofballs”.  Again, who gets to decide anyway?          The article, which can be found
includes numerous distinguished scientists, engineers and researchers addressing this issue.  The
dialogue was instigated by a decision to “repost” two lectures by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham
Hancock to the TED website from the original posting site on YouTube.  This was due to complaints
of questionable science  by a number of viewers.  (For more information on this action, see the TED
here.  Especially at the cutting edge of science, it is not always clear when an idea reflects sound
scientific thinking and when it goes too far.

The Network for Spiritual Progressives  

Michael Lerner, editor
of TIKKUN magazine
and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun
synagogue in Berkeley and
San Francisco along with
Sister Joan Chittister and Cornel West have founded the Network for Spiritual Progressives (NSP).  
NSP casts a wide net but includes as one of their areas of interest Science and Spirit.  As Rabbi Lerner
states on the website, “we are the heirs of the long evolution of Spirit. Each of us is the latest
unfolding of the event of Creation. Our bodies are composed of the material that was shaped in the
Big Bang. And so, too, our spirits. The loving goodness of the universe breathes us and breathes
through us, giving us life and consciousness, and the capacity to recognize and love others.”  They
have an extended text that can be found
here that lays out their perspective on this topic.    
Participants of WesleyNexus may find this and other topics of interest.  The NSP home page can be

The 59th Annual IRAS Summer Conference at Silver Bay, New York    

From July 27 to August 3, 2013, The
Institute on Religion in an Age of
Science (IRAS) will convene for their
yearly conference at Silver Bay, New York.  
This year’s program will focus on Scientific,
Spiritual and Moral Challenges in solving the World Food Crisis.  Conference Co-Chairs are Solomon
Katz and Pat Bennett.  Dr. Katz is director of the Krogman Center for Childhood Growth and
Development at the University of Pennsylvania. Katz is also a leading expert on the anthropology of
food.  To register, go to          
May 28, 2013